Monday, 31 December 2012

Good-bye 2012, Hello 2013

For my last post of 2012 I leave you with the words to Auld Lang Syne, that historic poem written by Scottish Poet Robbert Burns in 1788.

"Auld Lang Syne" is traditionally sung at the conclusion of New Year gatherings in around the world, especially in English-speaking countries.

It is common practice that everyone joins hands with the person next to them to form a great circle around the dance floor. At the beginning of the last verse, everyone crosses their arms across their breast, so that the right hand reaches out to the neighbour on the left and vice versa. When the tune ends, everyone rushes to the middle, while still holding hands. When the circle is re-established, everyone turns under the arms to end up facing outwards with hands still joined.

Here are the words...

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne ?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup !
and surely I’ll buy mine !
And we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine ;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.

We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine ;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand my trusty friend !
And give us a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.


More Creative Control With Your Camera - The Lensbaby Lens

Image courtesy of Lensbaby

If you have your standard DSLR lenses and are looking for something different, the Lensbaby line of lenses has a little something for everyone. Lensbaby offers three different lenses, each suited to a different kind of photographer. Each lens is used in a different way and produces a different stylistic effect.

Lensbaby lenses mount directly onto your DSLR or mirrorless camera body. Check each specific lens for a list of compatible camera bodies. Lensbaby lenses have interchangeable optics. Each Lensbaby lens comes with an optic installed. This optic can easily be removed and replaced with any of their 7 other optics. Each Lensbaby lens gives you access to our full line of creative effects. Choose the lens that fits your shooting style.

Check out their photographer’s gallery to decide which one is right for you. Lensbaby lenses are compatible with Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax and 4/3′s mount SLR cameras.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Networking Ideas For Photographers

I have just had a run of posts on my blog about social media and the internet… but in reality, its only one small piece of the puzzle to grow your business… Most photographers, even with a decent strategy online are still going to struggle to get clients as they are growing their business. While there’s a manual for using your gear, classes on lighting, composition and we all have a Facebook account that we use to keep in touch with our friends and family. We all struggle getting actual paying clients while we are in a growth phase of our photography businesses?

Sure, you’ll find the usual suspects. You might sign up for monthly online advertising packages that give you a banner ad, link to your website… or even an adwords campaign. Perhaps you put in huge effort towards building a business page on Facebook, only to get 300 or 400 fans (and half of them are related to you, or went to school with you, and the other half photographers just like you that will not buy anything from you).

So what’s the magic bullet to getting more clients? The secret is, there is no magic bullet. But there is one thing behind the success of many well-known photographers, and that’s networking.

Networking is all about expanding your contacts and meeting people who might want to do business with you, or send you referrals because of the relationship you fostered with them. However, it requires some finesse and hard work in order to get the results you are looking for. You have to get out and do what I call, “Press the flesh”, that’s shaking hands for all you dirty thinkers out there! ;-)

It’s a very effective technique for photographers when done right. As a professional photographer, networking is the foundation of my business. I network with other photographers, clients, friends, people that work in camera stores. More than 60% of my TOTAL business comes from networking and follow up, and I’ve put together some tips for you so you can experience the same kind of results. It doesn’t matter what type of photography you do; all photographers need good contacts in order to thrive, especially in these hard economic times…

Advance Planning

Advance planning is one of the little known secrets to successful networking. Do you know how many people go to networking events without a single business card? Restock your business cards and brochures (don’t you hate it when you meet someone awesome and you reach for a business card and it’s one of those dog-eared cards that’s been in your wallet forever?)

If you can review the RSVP list, or see who’s attending a function that you are going to, prepare how to approach them. For example, if you’ve wanted to get into writing articles or taking images for magazines, see if anyone in the media industry (writer, publisher, sales person) is attending.

Finally, have a few interesting stories picked out that you can share. Remember, most people think of photography as a glamorous career and would like to hear a few highlights or funny stories. And you have to have a few stored up there in the memory banks… if you listen to my Shutter Tripping podcast you know Tom Baker has a few I am sure you could steal… :)~


Why are you going to this event and what do you want to accomplish? If you are a wedding photographer, you might set a goal of meeting two new event planners. Or you set a goal of walking up to three strangers and starting a conversation. The goal should be reasonable; you are not trying to sign new clients, just meeting people. Talking to strangers and making friends.

Walk Up to Strangers

This is crucial. Networking is about making contacts and creating business relationships. To make this happen, you do have to walk up to strangers and introduce yourself. One trick I use is to pick someone who looks nervous and go talk to them. You know the type-a lone soul hugging a wall and nervously looking around. If I can get out of my own fear for a moment and think about helping someone else, it’s a lot easier to walk over to them and introduce myself. Typically they are grateful to be rescued and eager to talk to someone. Once I’ve done that, I’m usually a bit more warmed up and ready to meet more people.

Be a Good Listener

Networking is an interesting mix of business and social. You don’t want to come off as all business because that’s kind of boring and no one wants to be sold to. Yet you don’t want to over share about personal details. Not everyone wants to hear about your personal details… Think of it as making business friends. To make a great connection with someone, be a good listener. People love to talk about themselves. So just ask questions and genuinely try to get to know people.

Follow Up

After the event, take the time to make some notes to remember who you met and what you talked about. Choose a few people from the event to follow up with. This is where the magic bullet starts to be forged.

At the beginning you want to get to know them better, so don’t send over a business proposal or suggest how they can help you. Instead, try a Facebook friend request, follow them on Twitter, or just send them a note letting them know you enjoyed meeting them. If you talked about a product or service, you could send a link to more info, but keep it casual. If the connection is strong, invite them out for drinks to continue the conversation. Do not sell yet… you need to earn their trust first.

Think of your images as a type of calling card or goodwill.
Most businesses are looking for good images. Look at your local coffee shop, what kind of images are on their walls? Take some local images, frame them and offer it to them as wall art.

Or go to local charities, tell them you are a professional photographer and offer printed canvas photos as items they can use to generate money for their charity. Or, go to companies that you know… offer something as a golf prize for the companies next tournament. The avenues are abundant, you just have to get out there, press the flesh and meet new people.

One final thought on networking and getting new clients… as I said earlier, foster the relationships… but when the time comes, ask for the business, if you do not ask, you will not get.

So... following my own advice... here goes my "Ask"... If you want to learn more about growing your photography business, check out my new mentor program. I have one designed for photographers that want to learn how to grow their business…  You do not have to live local to me, we can do this via the internet and over the phone. I will work with you to create a solid foundation and teach you how to maximize all the avenues at your disposal to grow your business in 2013.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Using Google Analytics to Measure Online Success

Without a measurement “yard stick” how are you ever going to know what is working on your website and what is not working?
Are you ever going to know who is looking at your photos?
Do you know what visitors do when they look at your content on your website?
Where are your website visitors coming from?
Have you ever wondered why people are looking at my photos or services, but not buying anything from you?
Are you posting the proper size of photos online to fill up a user’s entire screen?
What programs are your users using to access the internet with, and is your site optimized for various web browsers?

If you would like to know the answers to these questions, you should consider an analytics tool to help you get those answers.

Let’s think of it this way… You take a photo and are proud of it. You blast out a photo to your Twitter followers, you then post that same photo on your Facebook profile for all your friends to see, and maybe you have a Google+ account that you want to share your photo on… OK, done, you did all that… now what?

If you are serious about photography as a business, you should know exactly how many people clicked on that link you put out on those three websites, what these people did on your site when there, and ultimately did they contact you to buy something.

Of course, the above paragraph is simplified, but basically, that’s what you want to be doing. I know that every time I post a blog entry on Twitter I get a traffic bump from my followers coming to my website to read my BLOG. I know how long they spent reading, I know if they looked at anything else, and I monitor the questions or comments that come from this online traffic.

I also know that every time I post a link on Linkedin of a new BLOG post that I get on average of 45 views within the first day of posting it on LinkedIn. I then track the residual visits over the next 30 days. I see that every time I post on LinkedIn I average 120 people coming to read that blog post. Plus, I track what else they did.

Without going into a longer dissertation about all the places I post and what traffic I get to my website; let’s just say that I have it down to a science. I know, within a small margin of error how many website visitors I will get by throwing website content out into the internet on various places.

To add to this, every time I sell something, a photo, get a client for a workshop or a mentor program; I ask one simple question, “How did you find me?”

By asking that question I put the final piece of the puzzle together, my conversion ratio. By doing that I know what social media and what mass marketing initiative is working. It then becomes a numbers game. The more I focus on what’s working, the more money I make, the more camera gear I can buy, the closer I get to achieve my goal.

So how the heck can you get that kind of measurement on your website?

Google Analytics provides you, the photographer, a powerful tracking for monitoring your web presence. It's one of the most effective and free, web analytics solutions on the market today.

Google Analytics shows you how people found your site, how they explored it, where they came from and where they went after they visited your website. Through this information you will spot trends and you will be able to adjust how your content is displayed and inevitably enhance their visitor experience, ultimately improving your return on investment, increase conversion ratios, and make more money on the web.

As a business owner you will be able to understand (1) which marketing initiatives are being most effective, (2) what are the traffic patterns on your website and (3) which customer segments are most valuable to you for generating revenue. Throw on your marketing hat and you will be able to see where your visitors are coming from and what they do while they are on your website, help you understand how to convert more visitors to customers and which marketing spend is most effective in sending people to your website.

To sign up for Google Analytics, you should ensure you have an account with Google and visit this page, GOOGLE ANALYTICS SET-UP

Once you begin to register your website for Google analytics you must first ensure that you place your Google Analytics tracking code on your web pages. Between Google and you’re your website provider, they will help you. Google Analytics code is a small JavaScript snippet that needs to be added to each page of your site, either manually or through the use of plugins or tool.

For the more advanced web user, you want to install this code manually into your pages, copy and paste the code segment into the bottom of your content, immediately before the body tag of each page that you wish to track.

For a person that just read this previous sentence and didn’t understand what I just said; get your webmaster involved. However, sites like Wordpress, Smugmug and Squarespace have a simple interface where you can just grab your analytics code from Google and paste it into a place on your smugmug account. It will not be immediate, but in a day or so, your account will be live and you will be tracking visitors to your site in a much more advanced and effective way.

To conclude, measurement is key to success. It helps you obtain goals, it aids you in creating a better user experience, and it will ultimately help you generate more income.

I hope this helps give you some direction with analytics and puts you on a better path for success. If you want to learn more come see me in Kitchener in February, 2013. I will be speaking on social media and the internet. To pay register and pre-pay your spot please visit,

Friday, 28 December 2012

Official Announcement ~ Photoflex and Photographer's Lounge announce partnership

 KPep Photography
... Photography is a journey where you capture the world one frame at a time.
100 Barrie Street
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
N1S 3A9
(Phone)  226.989.8848

Press Release

Contact: Kevin Allen Pepper
Phone: 226.989.8848
9 AM EDT, December, 28, 2012

Photoflex and the photographer’s lounge strike strategic partnership

     In December of 2012, Photoflex and the Photographer’s Lounge have established a strategic partnership designed to benefit both company’s short and long term goals. The Photographer’s Lounge will now be exclusively outfitted with Photoflex® studio lighting equipment for all their workshops that contain a lighting component.  To see a list of the workshops scheduled to be using the Photoflex® lighting equipment in 2013 please visit

     In exchange for the use of the lighting equipment at the workshops, the Photographer’s Lounge will be producing written and video tutorials on how to photograph people and product, both in a studio and in the field. Student’s attending the workshops and photographers that are members of the “The Lounge” will also get the opportunity to attend detailed product knowledge information sessions where they will receive guidance on what gear to buy and what gear is right for them.  

    Kevin Pepper, owner of the Photographer’s Lounge says, “Securing this kind of partnership reinforces our commitment to mentor photographers of all levels”, he further goes on to say, “Photoflex is the perfect partner for us. Their customer service philosophies, commitment to innovation and the quality of their product are all attributes that really drove me to create this sponsorship”


For a quarter century Photoflex® has produced lighting products that are driven by Innovation, Quality, Versatility and Durability. We’re proud to present our products to the digital, film and video industries worldwide.

We base our products around three simple, but crucial rules.

1.     Quality. Produce the finest, most versatile product at a fair price and back it up with the best warranty possible. We take personal pride in putting the Photoflex® name on a product that you pay money for. That pride is reflected and backed up by giving you a warranty that is at least two to five times longer than almost all other manufacturers in the industry. We will not sacrifice the credibility of our products simply to cut prices. Quality has its rewards.

2.     Durability. We won’t build something that we wouldn’t use ourselves. We have two photo/video studios where we test the prototypes and shoot all of our product photos, instruction sheets, and product demonstration lessons for PhotoflexLightingSchool™. If the products don’t pass the test there, they don’t go to market. Other “manufacturers” shop the trade shows and buy products off the shelf from factories that they then put their labels on. Not Photoflex®. We design, build and configure to improve upon products we have tested that others can benefit from. We produce our own fabric, build our own molds, and create our own designs into prototypes to be tested in our own studios, sometimes taking over a year to get the finished product. This is why products such as the LiteDome®, LiteDisc®, and LitePanel have been in production for over 25 years virtually unchanged. They were designed correctly the first time, and all have five or six year warranties because of it.

3.     Customer Service. We don’t make the customer pay for our mistakes. We know that you, the customer, signs our paycheck. Therefore, our goal is to provide the finest customer service in the business. We have always had real people answer the phone to help you with your issues and questions and we will continue to pursue our goal of being there for you in the future.

The top professionals in the world have been using Photoflex® products for 25 years and continue to do so because Photoflex® is driven by these three rules.


For the past year the Photographer's Lounge in Waterloo Region has been proud to say that we are developing into one of the top teaching companies in South Western Ontario. We are dedicated to providing digital photographers with access to the latest photography gear, introductions to the world’s top photographic destinations at budget minded prices and the opportunity to talk one-on-one with the world’s best photography minds.

At the Lounge we believe that each photographer is on their own personal journey, and as such, will learn at their own pace, and their own budget. For this reason the company has structured custom individual mentoring and group training programs designed to meet any photographer’s needs, at their speed and budget.



How Important is the Internet and Social Media for a photographers business

Here are a few stats that I wanted to share with you...

36% of consumers depend on social media to make purchase decisions

49% of canadians use social media every day

1/4 of consumers prefer co's that use social media

50% of active facebook users login every day

More than 250 million photos uploaded on facebook every day

Mobile already generates 7 - 10% of your web traffic without a proactive mobile marketing initiative

36% of people doing mobile searches online take action immediately, 39% within the hour

Today, one in seven searches on Google are on Mobile. Is your website optimized for searches done on smart phones?

85% of people using search click on a Pay per click (PPC) ad less than once a mth

Your clients are 4x more likely to engage in the sales process if you respond to an email in under 5 minutes

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Return on Investment for Your Social Media Efforts

As a photographer, the time you can commit to social media may be limited. Most photographers I know wish they had extra hours in their day to catch up on editing photos, updating their web page, or any number of things that suck up precious time each day.

People ask me all the time, "So why should you devote time toward social media if you can’t measure the effect it has on your business?"

In this post I hope to help you measure the value of your time and interactions so that you can make better decisions about how to market your photography business.

Time will help establish a benchmark for measuring the return on investment of your social media efforts. How much time do you spend on social media and what do you value that time at? If we assume you devote an average of 5 hours a week on social media (20 hours a month, 240 hours a year) and your hourly rate is $50/hr; your social media marketing efforts may be costing you at least $12,000 a year, $1,000 a month, $250 a week. This “free” form of advertising is not free when you look at it like this.

So let’s start trying to measure social media return on Investment (ROI).

What is one way you can measure social media?
Part of why it’s hard to measure the value of social media is that there is no universal unit of measurement. If I may be so bold, the only way to measure the value of social media is to value your input of time, research, and hard costs for each social media platform and compare this to your possible return from other forms of traditional marketing.

Value of time invested + Investment in education/research + Cost of paid advertising and social media tools = the monetary cost of your social media marketing

Facebook offers some of the most insightful analytics tools of all of the social media platforms. The challenge is to understand what each insight actually tells you. Two insights that I have found helpful are “unique users by frequency” (clarifies within a specific time period how often each unique users engaged with your page) and the “friends of friends” (gives you total possible reach of your page). These are stats that any good media channel should be able to give you about their readership or viewership. Compare what your social media investment is to the coverage you could receive from other channels for a comparable.

Another valuable insight you can gather from all social platforms is the cost of social referral. By using Google Analytics you can see the amount of unique visitors you receive through each link you put up. Add together the amount of time, research, and advertising you invested in a specific landing page and divide this by the amount of unique visitors you received for each link to put a value on your cost per referral. At least you will now know how much is it really costing you to get people to view your unique content on your website?

Another way to determine ROI
I was introduced to another way to determine Social Media ROI. It’s called the “Social Media Money Formula”. The formula looks like this:

(R – Cg) * (F * Cr * Or * Pr) – (h * T) = Profit

R = Revenue per sale
Cg = Cost of goods sold
F = Number of friends/followers (Social Media reach)
Cr = click rate on Social Media links (% of followers that click)
Or = (Opt-in rate) or % of clicks that opt-in
Pr = Purchase rate (% of opt-ins that buy)
H = Hourly rate for your SM efforts
T = Amount of time you spend on social media

The translation is (Revenue minus cost of goods) * (Number of friends times click through rate times opt in rate times purchase rate) less (your hourly rate that your time is worth times your total time spent on social media) equals your net profit.
Or for you business types this would be your, “Earnings before Depreciation, Taxes and Amortization”, “EBIDTA”

I hope that begins to give you a better idea of how to make sense of what your Social Media results are telling you. Unless you quantify your investment of time, research, advertising options and available funding, you won’t be able to accurately determine the true ROI on your social media efforts.

If you want to learn more about blogging come to my 2013 seminar in Kitchener, Ontario. You can see details here,
Or, if you are not local to me, I have a program where we can work together remotely to help you become more recognized online. Check out that program here...

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

2013 Photography Workshops in Northern Ontario

For years I ignored the requests to come to the cottage from my Uncle Kev… I mean, heck, a cottage for a weekend and its 5 1/2 hours round trip… isn’t a weekend at the cottage supposed to be relaxing?

Then one April weekend three years ago I FINALLY agreed to head on up with him to see the northern homestead… we were going to blitz the area and photograph non stop for two days.  I can remember driving on this unassumed country road through what can only be described as a spring postcard… the color of the leaves were bright chartreuse, the forest floor blanketed in white Trillium petals, and the wildlife scurrying everywhere. All I could think was, “This is beautiful! Am I ever an idiot for not coming up here sooner!”

Since that one awesome weekend I have seen this area in every season, and every season has something unique to offer a photographer and outdoor enthusiast. The area I am referring too is located 34 miles south of the iconic Algonquin Park, 26 miles north of Bobcaygen, Ontario and 224 miles north of Buffalo, New York.

Winter is a magical time of year up in the Kawartha region of Ontario. Scattered along the waters edge are tall evergreen trees, which are a wonderful contrast to the blue skies and frozen lakes and rivers.

You get a whole new perspective on the area by walking on the lakes and photographing the shorelines and quaint cottages. Even the barren forests, void of green leaves, give the area a depth that you do not get at any other time of year.

In the spring, the area comes to life. The trees start to fill in their canopies and the Trillium’s blanket the ground like a thick shag carpet. This creates a wonderful opportunity for beautiful floral images.
As spring is ready to give way to summer the small animals, deer and bird are giving birth to young. The photographic opportunities of common loons, osprey and deer with young offer the patient photographer so many wonderful photographic opportunities that you can spend hours sitting and watching all that unfolds around you.


Summer is a season of activity and the vacationers come to the area to enjoy Ontario’s playground. The photographic opportunities are absolutely endless. With so many picturesque things within a short drive, the photographer that likes to capture everything through the lens will come away with a cornucopia of images they will want to mount on their wall and share with their friends.

My favourite photographic subjects are the Olympic training facility for kayakers and the blue hour and golden hour photographic opportunities. With minimal noise pollution in the sky, the colours of the area at that peak time is unlike anything you see anywhere else. Hues of purple, bright orange and reds are common place.


Then comes autumn… the time of year when Mother Nature unleashes her colour palette that seems to paint the countryside with bright shades of red, orange and yellow. The water side forests seem to come alive and jump out at you, just begging for you to photograph.



Autumn is also the season for fog… as the cool autumn air gently slides over the calm early morning waters; the gift left for a photographer is wonderful fog. I personally love to photograph this type of scene. From early August till November this is a regular occurrence that pulls me out of bed at 5am and takes me to the shoreline. There is nothing more peaceful than hearing the call of the loon as the sun starts to kiss the tree line with fog dancing on still water… to me; this is what photography is all about.

In 2013 we will be running weekend workshops up here in every season as we did in 2012… but in 2013 we added a week long workshop we are calling our Canadian Caravan. Rick Sammon will be joining us in August of 2013 to lead a workshop when the morning fog dances on the water, the kayakers will be flying through the rapids and the loons make their daily swims up and down the many lakes in the area.
To see these workshops please click on the links below...


Real World Examples of the Benefits of Blogging

I thought I would take a "deep dive" look at how my BLOG positively effects my photography business and share that with you... you read all these articles about how great a blog is, but rarely does someone peel back the layers and show you concrete examples of the benefits... so here is the skinny on my blog...
I use BLOGGER from Google and it is embedded as a page on my website, You can access the blog directly through that site or by its own URL,
I started this blog in September of 2010 and was periodically writing posts whenever the mood struck me. In that month my posts were read 317 times. The number of times my blog was read over the next 12 months started to slowly climb to 1937 blog posts read in a given month. My posts were hard to find, I wasn't tagging them properly and I really wasn't engaged with my blog marketing efforts the way I should have been. I was a part time blogger still not looking at photography as a profession.
Then I gave a seminar to 25 car dealers about being engaged with their blog as a full time marketing initiative... I was teaching them about how to reach out to their clients and tagging their blogs properly in a way that it matched people's search phrases on the search engines. I sat there on the second break and thought, "I should start to take my own blog more seriously and apply that methodology to my photography."
In October of 2011 I retagged ALL my posts and photos in my posts, started being proactive and writing relevant content 30 days in advance so I could increase my frequency of posts. I would take two nights a month and write posts for four (4) hours and plan a strategy to properly reach out to photographers about things that matter most to them. (gear posts, how to posts, business posts)
Since I started that strategy my blog has exploded with traffic and clients are now reaching out to me because they saw my blog posts. I now get requests to attend workshops and purchase images. In fact, it generates more business than any other marketing effort. It really was not hard... its was just a commitment.
In November of 2012 my blog was read 8250 times and I posted 38 blog posts in November, most of which were wrote in September or October and scheduled to coincide with initiatives I wanted to promote, and some new partnerships that were going to be announced. In December I am on track to have my blog posts read over 9000 times.
So now you have my traffic baseline... but where does that traffic to my BLOG come from, and how am i generating revenue from my blog?
How Do People Find My BLOG?
(1) Proper indexation of my content for search engines… for each type of post, say a post on “Photography Composition” I look to a tool that I have that identifies the top searches pertaining to that topic. I then make sure those terms are in my blog title, in the body of the post and i use the same terms to tag the blog. It makes my blog so that they are easily searched.
(2) Proper time of day releases… I live in “Eastern Standard Time” near Toronto, Canada. The majority of the people that read my blog also live in Eastern Standard Time, Mountain Standard Time and Pacific Standard Time… The majority of the population lives in Eastern Standard Time. By understanding when peak Internet traffic times are during the week, and on the weekends, allows me to schedule when the posts go live. This allows me to maximize my chances of having my blog read by the most amount of people.
If I post two in a day I capture the appropriate peak time in eastern North America and western North America for readers during the week and then at appropriate times on the weekend.
How Do I broadcast my BLOG to maximize people reading it?
(1) As soon as the BLOG goes live on my site it gets socialized on my Facebook business pages, sometimes on my personal Facebook page, on my Twitter account and my Google+ account.
(2) I have two boards on my Pinterest profile that lend themselves to my blog posts. I have a Board showing images of travel where links to my posts about trips, wildlife and workshops will be placed. I also have a Board for tips and tutorials. With each photo goes a link to an appropriate tip. When I post on or occasionally on flickr I also post links to posts from my blog.
(3) Guest Blogging… occasionally I will guest blog on other peoples sites. I will put links on those BLOG posts directly back to my blog or to my website…. I will offer the same benefit to people reading this. If you want to guest post on my blog, reach out to me and we will get some of your posts scheduled into my BLOG.
(4) There is a link to my blog in my email signature on my personal email address.
(5) I post some links to my personal BLOG from my business website,
(6) My posts also get posted on my meetup group, my 500px profile and on occasion my flickr profile (when i post there)
Where Does My BLOG Traffic Come From?

Direct traffic accounts for 11.2% people registered to receive my posts via email or people that regularily come back because they have it bookmarked
Google searches account for 32.9%
Yahoo and Bing traffic accounts for 3.2% this should be larger but there has always been a search issue with Canadian sites by US browsers searching with Bing.
Facebook traffic accounts for 16.4%
Twitter traffic accounts for 11.8%
Pinterest traffic accounts for 1.2%
Traffic from my business website accounts for 5.9% and flickr traffic accounts for 3.6%
Rick Sammon’s website from guest blogging and workshop info account for 7.4%
The leaves 5.4% of my traffic coming from web sources because people have shared my blog posts, or other unknown web sites had a link to my blog posts.
So Where Does The Money Come From?
I looked at all the bookings from my workshops and photo tours and looked at the answers that people gave me regarding how they found me. My BLOG generated almost 23% of all my bookings of my International and Domestic workshops.
I ask everyone that purchases images from me how they found me and here is the percentage of clients that came through my blog… 38% of all my images sold come as a result of people reading my blog posts.
I found one corporate client because they read my BLOG posts. My BLOG eventually took them to my images and they reached out to me.
I found a new client for my mentorship program because they were following my BLOG posts and were reading them everyday on Facebook.
As you read in earlier posts, my BLOG generates money from AdSense… its not much, but its growing as my traffic grows.
As you can see, my BLOG generates a good portion of my revenues... for something that does not cost me anything, other than the time I invest in it, its the most profitable revenue generation avenue I have.
If you want to learn more about blogging come to my 2013 seminar in Kitchener, Ontario. You can see details here,
Or, if you are not local to me, I have a program where we can work together remotely to help you become more recognised online. Check out that program here...

2013 Kawartha Photography Workshops in Ontario

Workshop Dates:

Exact 2013 Dates are coming. We have outlined below when we will be running the workshops. If you are interested you should book your spot now as we are limiting the spots to only 4 next year. Exact dates are generally announced 45 to 60 days in advance of the workshop.

Workshop One - February 2013
Dates to be determined based on ice thickness on lake - plan on the second or third weekend in February - SOLD OUT
Workshop Two - April 2013
Dates to be determined to coincide with Trillium blooming - plan for the third weekend in April
Workshop Three - August 2013
Dates to be determined - plan for the last half of the month.
Workshop Four - October 2013
Dates to be determined based on peak fall colors in the area - plan for first or the second weekend in October.

Come and join us on our weekend retreats to Lake Salerno in the Kawartha's. In 2013 we are only offering four workshops, a winter, spring, summer and fall workshop

In the Kawarthas, an area positioned one and a half hours north east of Toronto, both water and land are equally impressive. The shimmering lakes and rivers that offer breathtaking sun rises and sunsets are ribboned together by the Trent-Severn Waterway, which stretches from Lake Ontario to nearby Georgian Bay. This water route is well travelled in summer by yachts, powerboats and houseboats, with many stopping overnight at the numerous locks. The Kawarthas also boasts fish-rich waters and an abundance of water fowl. Our destination, Lake Salerno continues to be home to migratory Loons that keep coming back year after year. These beautiful birds offer the avid photographer plenty of opportunity to photograph them in their natural habitat.

But the land also offers you countless photo opportunities. Here is a mix of fertile carpets of farmland and fragrant pine forests that are home for wildlife such as coyotes, bears, wild turkey, beaver and a variety of owls.

A Photographers Lounge Weekend Photography Workshop at Salerno Lake in the Kawartha’s is designed to incorporate both classroom learning as well as a hands-on approach to applying the classroom teachings in the field with your camera. These fun and engaging weekends are designed to immerse the participants into the art of photography at a remote location. 

What We Deliver
Our goal when we run a Weekend Photography Workshop is to improve your photographic aptitude through a focused learning environment. A Weekend Photography Workshop is a targeted learning experience: classroom time, combined with special assignments and hands on camera work is how we facilitate your learning. We also build in time to critique photographer’s images that were taken both before and during the Workshop. 

Our small groups guarantee a great instructor-to-student ratio and plenty of time to answer all of your questions. Weekend Photography Workshops are like a unique course designed just for you! Workshops typically begin on a Friday evening and run to Sunday afternoon.

What can you expect to photograph while at Salerno Lake with us?
The lake has an abundance of Common Loons and other water fowl on the surrounding lakes at any given time. There is also wild turkey, deer, fox and bear that call the area home. Hummingbirds seem to make the circuit daily and constantly visit the feeds set up around the cottages. The abundance of lakes and shorelines also offer a multitude of seascape and landscape photo opportunities.

Investing in one weekend devoted to improving your photography is the most effective way to learn!

How It Works
You arrive Friday night by 5pm and we will shoot after dinner Friday, sunrise Saturday morning, Sunset Saturday and then out again on Sunday morning.

During the afternoons we will spend time in the digital darkroom and edit your images that you have taken.

All workshops end on Sunday by 1pm to ensure you can arrive home at a decent time on the Sunday.

The 2013 fee for a Weekend Photography Workshop at our private home on Salerno Lake is $350/person. This includes accomodation at our private home, two breakfasts, two dinners, light lunch on Saturday, all your drinks and photographic workshop fees.

Not included is your transportation to and from the workshop location. We will send you directions once you register for one of these workshops.

A minimum of 2 and a maximum of 4 participants for one of our Salerno Lake Workshops ensures quality instruction.

Who Should Attend
There may be some medium level hiking involved. You should have a moderate level of fitness and be able to hike through forests for extended periods of time.

The photographer that will get the most out of one of these workshops is someone that understands the basic functions of a camera and wants to take their images to the next level.

To Book Your Space
If a unique weekend Photography Workshop in the Kawartha’s is the best option for you, please visit the following link and contact us for more details

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

I hope the fat man with the white beard spoils all of you!

I just wanted to wish everyone a great Holiday Season and thank you all for reading my posts in 2012.

I hope continue to come back in 2013 as I hope to make some positive changes that will help you all be better photographers, and more successful business people.


Kevin Pepper
Owner, Principal Photographer
The Photographer's Lounge

Monday, 24 December 2012

The Benefits of Blogging to a Photographer

Blogging is a very effective tool at introducing people to your products and services… and you just proved that by clicking on the link somewhere out on the Internet to come and see what I had to say on this one topic.

Let’s start this by saying that blogging requires commitment. You have to set a frequency by which you want to post, and stick to it. Setting a pattern, thereby setting the expectation by your readers is imperative to creating loyalty to your blogs, your products and your services.

I now faithfully BLOG almost every day. Between 8:30am and 9:30am my readers now know that I will have written about something and posted it online. They know they will find my post on my blog, on my facebook business pages, my twitter feed or on Google+. I have set the expectation, and whether they consciously go and read it, or just know that one is there in case they want to read it… its there if they choose to read it.

Writing Your Blog. The common misconception is that it’s a daily task. It’s not. I will take a day and write dozens of posts. By the time this post goes online around Christmas of 2012 I will already be writing my posts for the end of January. I spend a total of 12 hours a month and write 25 to 30 blog posts.

Occasionally I will write supplemental posts… if you see two posts in a day that probably means I wrote that during that week because something had come up and I wanted to address it.

What should you BLOG about? Well… that’s up to you. What information do you have that readers want to learn about? What compelling information would be valuable? Only you can answer that. For me, I blog about anything to do with photography… from tips and tutorials, to technical information, to travel destinations, my workshops, social media, marketing.

People that follow me and read my posts know that my topics have a huge range and they can find information on a lot of photography related topics by coming to, or searching my historical blog posts.

Soft Sell approach… I follow the soft sell approach… more times than not there will be a link to one of my workshops, my tours, or my products for sale. I rarely do the hard sell approach, rather offer a link to a workshop if I do a “Species Spotlight”… for example; I am going to Africa a few times in 2013 and a few times in 2014. I just wrote a species spotlight on the Rothschild Giraffe that will go on my blog in December. In that post I put links to my workshops. People can choose to read about the workshop, or not… that wasn’t what the post was about. The giraffe was the subject and the soft sell was the workshop.

How does a BLOG generate clients and money? There are a few ways to generate new clients and sell more products or services. Here is how my blog helps me generate revenue and new clients.

1 - Placing ads on my blog… Google Blogger gives you the option to generate revenue by serving ads between your posts. It’s called Google AdSense. I generate about $25 a month from serving these ads on my site… but I also periodically go in and block advertisers that are in direct competition with what I am selling. It’s not an exact science, but the more sites I block from advertising on my site, the more types of ads I want to show up on my site are showing up.

It’s a balancing act and a personal decision… but for $25 a month, what the heck… that revenue is increasing the more popular my posts are becoming. So who knows how much money that will generate in another year or two?

2- Increasing Your Presence online… Yesterday I touched on “keywords” on my blog. Creating a relevant title and tagging your blog posts with words and phrases that people are searching for are key. I use my adwords account to look for the top searched phrases in the photography industry in order to tag my content with the most popular phrases used today.

I also write frequently on my blog… the more frequent you write, the more times the search engine spiders will index your content, the more relevant they will deem your content to be versus the millions of fresh content that is uploaded to the web daily.

My blog for example gets indexed a few times a week and my posts will rank high on search queries quite often… here is one example of that.

I am doing a workshop with Hal Schmitt and Scott Slocum in Dallas in May. It is an aviation workshop. I posted the information on my website but I also blogged about these workshops. Moose Peterson has written dozens, if not hundreds of blogs on his aviation workshops for years, and he has them on different websites.

If you search for “Aviation Workshops” on Google, here is the link 

You will see how my blog out performed Moose, and my own website. My blog post today showed up higher than any of Moose’s workshop information anywhere on the web… If I had not have indexed the post properly, written the appropriate keywords and socialized the post on all my social networks I would never had the web presence that I am getting right now.

Proper keywords and phrases + frequency of posting on your blog = how high your content will be served in a search query done on google, bing, yahoo, etc… there are many more factors, but for the photographer just starting their blog, or doesn’t want a more technical explanation; this pretty much will do the trick. If you want more technical information please fee free to contact me at

I will post more about blogging on my next post… I just wanted to introduce you to the benefits of blogging and how I do it…

If you want to learn more about maximizing social media, please register for my Social Media Seminar in 2013 here,